Fringe Box



Burpham Votes Yes For Its Own Neighbourhood Plan

Published on: 20 Feb, 2016
Updated on: 25 Feb, 2016

People in Burpham have overwhelmingly voted ‘yes’ for the ward to have its own neighbourhood plan.

In a referendum, the majority of voters, who are registered electors, said yes to the question: Do you want Guildford Borough Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Burpham to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?

Shop parade in London Road, Burpham.

Shop parade in London Road, Burpham.

The council reports that the turnout was 21.51% and the number of yes votes was 92.18% and the number of no votes was 7.18%.

It will now adopt the Burpham Neighbourhood Plan and will consider this at its meeting on April 12.

Burpham Neighbourhood Forum co-ordinator Jim Allen was delighted with the result. He said: “Three years ago we were informed that a new law allowed a smaller version of a ‘local plan’ could be generated by the community as a ‘neighbourhood plan’.

“We invited our neighbouring wards and parishes to join us in the project and they all declined.

“So we moved off alone into the unknown wilderness of planning regulations, history of the ward,  how it evolvement and events of note.

“We collected the information from one of the most comprehensive surveys possible for our ward, we walked our own streets and photographed our community – in the spring to show it at its very best! – and studied other people’s plans across the county.

“We wrote a database to hold all the information, and our basic policies with all their amendments until we hit the print button.

“By ‘regulation 14’ we had The Burpham Neighbourhood Plan. Then other people got involved – the officials of the process.

“We had a ‘health check’ that stated some of our documentation was exemplary. We were told by ‘those that know’ we would never get it past examination. And while the examiner was less than generous with his comments he could not fail to admitted it was legally sound.

“This lead to the referendum which we passed with more votes than some councillors get, the police commissioner gets and with percentages unseen in other ‘ask the community’ electoral events.

“The plan holds over 20 local green space areas (in simple terms little bits of green belt within the ward) and the whole project had a budget of under £1,600. And by information received, is the most economical plan in the whole country – the most expensive costing over £80,000.

“During the three years 4,700 email subjects were sent out to everyone who expressed an interest in our plan giving them chance to respond with comments if they desired.

“A total of 1.4 gigabytes of information and photos were collected – from 1800s maps to current day traffic census and the very latest ideas on parking numbers from central government. We now have the first plan in Guildford borough!”

JIm adds that special thanks must be given be given to the following members of the Burpham community – “for without them the neighbourhood plan would not exist”.

Derek Oliver, for arranging distribution of 2,500 leaflets from the survey three years ago to the referendum cards in the past two weeks.

Philip Colinese and Alan Hughes, for translating Jim’s “smelling and worms” (spelling) into readable English

Ros Pollock and Catherine Hughes, for defusing the very many “politically motivated mines and nukes” along the way.

Andy White, for his calming approach to everything.

Joan Smee, for her observations

Mick Duggan, ‘The man from the ministry’ whose expertise in the statutes placed him in the elite bracket of advisors.

Last but least our ward councillor for keeping us on the council legal path to the final prize.

And very lastly Jims thanks the people for voting.

Neighbourhood plans allow local people to produce planning policies for their local area.

The Burpham Neighbourhood Plan, the first in the borough, was examined in July and August 2015. The examiner recommended modifying the plan and sending it to referendum, and that the referendum area should be the Burpham Neighbourhood Area (Burpham ward).

The council agreed at its meeting on October 7 last year to accept the examiner’s recommendations and progress the plan to a referendum with amendments. The referendum on February 18 was the final stage in the process before the plan can be adopted.

The plan will become part of the development plan for the borough. It is then used to help determine planning applications within the Burpham ward along with the council’s current Local Plan and other considerations.

Other wards can apply through the same process and to find out more about neighbourhood planning go to:

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Responses to Burpham Votes Yes For Its Own Neighbourhood Plan

  1. Pauline Surrey Reply

    February 20, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Referendum year, obviously! Congratulations to Jim and all the Burpham team on the result. Champagne is surely called for?

  2. Cllr Christian Holliday Reply

    February 20, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Well done to the Burpham Neighbourhood Forum for staying the course with this one.

    I’m very proud that Burpham is the first forum area in Guildford to reach this milestone.

    The result of the vote itself is fantastic and demonstrates what can be achieved with a truly grassroots up movement.

    I hope this result proves a source of inspiration for other communities to press on with their own Neighbourhood Plans.

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